Want a successful career? Get career clarity!

Most people want a successful career but very few people have a clear picture of what this actually looks like.

We all know people who 'fell' into a job after school or university and continued with the profession for years and years - sometimes even working in the same role at the same company for all that time.

Many people who do this are happy with their decision - they found something so important to them and so particular to that profession, role or company that leaving to work elsewhere doesn't feel like the right thing to do, or even a possibility.

As a career coach and HR professional, I spend a lot of time working with clients, teams and organisations exploring the things that are important, and that make people want to stay in their professions, roles or company's - things like; salary, annual leave, work-life balance, training and development and career progression.

But what I find most interesting is that the things that make people want to stay are not always aligned with what they need to build a successful career.

For example, I once* worked with a client who had climbed up the career ladder into a high-paid and high-power job - anyone would think she had a successful career but she was in constant fear that she would lose her job and be left without any money. This fear had started to distract her at work and so we worked on it during our coaching sessions - we started by creating a 'picture' of success.

The lightbulb moment occurred when the client noted that her picture of success didn't include money, only the freedoms that she had associated with it - enjoying meals out, socialising with friends, travelling to other countries etc. This is when the client realised that her high-paid and high-power job didn't give her the freedom to do any of these things- she spent most her time and energy at work and constantly in fear that she would lose it all.

What I'm getting at here is that the things that make people stay in the same role, profession or company for years and years are not always aligned with (and can even contradict) their 'picture' of success, and they don't realise why they are unhappy until they find career clarity.

This is why having career clarity - knowing what is important to you, what motivates you and what makes you happy - is key to success.

*I sometimes use stories from my client work to illustrate a point. These are made up from the work I have done with various clients - they do not necessarily refer to a single client and are anonymised.

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